No matter how hard I tried to align my homeschool with what was typical or ordinary it. just. didn’t. work. I went into homeschooling with a brick and mortar teacher mentality anyways, which basically meant that I tried using “classroom tactics”.
Or in other words, ways used to teach other people’s children. It didn’t take long to realize that wasn’t going to work…
Once I realized that a classroom-style teaching approach wasn’t going to work, I took a natural trip down comparison lane.
I started comparing my homeschool to how others were homeschooling, big time. Normally it would be okay to glean ideas or suggestive ways to tweak and homeschool your way, but I took it too far.
What I mean is if I saw something working amazing for that Mom, I wanted to depict her way into my homeschool exactly how she was doing it… not realizing [at the moment] that the “mock-theory” would only last a short while and I’d still be left with trying yet another way.
Then I started to research different learning styles.
Having been a former teacher, I knew about learning styles but more in the context of a collective classroom of children. However, while writing my book, Just for Today’s Homeschooling Mom, I took a deep dive in the world of learning styles and paid more attention from an individual aspect.
I give a rundown in my book (starting on page 101) to help you identify the varying learning styles. After studying these styles, it didn’t take long to recognize that my children range from physical and social to verbal and visual learners.
I started to see that each of my children possess unique ways of learning, and each would need their individual academic journey’s to match that.
Understanding my kiddos’ unique learning styles opened the door to understanding homeschooling methods.
There are more and more methods being added as the years past and I’m so grateful for that. You see, at first, I wasn’t comfortable not fitting in with a certain style or method, but I also wasn’t comfortable with the thought of being somewhere ‘out there’. (
Before being comfortable with my not-so ordinary homeschool, I thought I had to fit into one mold… I mean, how could we possibly incorporate a little bit of this and a little bit of that and be successful?? The answer is: you just do it. Simple.
You do whatever your family dynamic calls for. My current family dynamic looks like a blended family with three of the four children being 4 years old and under. From my husband down to our second to youngest (as of now Baby M is a year old), we span across all the learning styles, which makes for a hefty Heinz 57. Therefore, our homeschooling depicts that.
If you take a microscope to my homeschool, you’ll find that we exhibit every homeschooling method out there except school-at-home (tried that and failed big time). One day (or week) we may be schooling through a unit study. Another day we may be doing a Charlotte Mason style (especially with my toddler and preschooler).
Sometimes we go the Montessori route and focus on our children learning a concept at their own pace without using technology (TV, YouTube, Netflix, etc.). The base of our homeschooling is definitely built on an eclectic, relaxed, multiple intelligence, unschooling foundation.
That’s why I consider my homeschool not so ordinary, and I’m totally okay with it! It only took me the first couple of years to work through the red tape that is common to most homeschoolers. Thing is, sometimes we can get trapped in that tape and homeschooling begins to look like a burden or a decision of regret.
My hope is that doesn’t happen to other families. We all have our own choices as to why we want to educate our children at home and our homeschool’s should be just as unique and special as our family’s are.
There is no mold to fit. There is no status quo to reach. There is only your way, and your way is what will get the job done. Be confident in that fact.
CHIME IN: What does your unique homeschool look like? What styles and methods do you use? Did you struggle finding your own extraordinary journey to successfully homeschooling? Please share in the comments. I’d love to hear from you!